Moore looks to White Jade for precious Valley victory
Stocks are low at John Moore's stable as he tries to cling to hopes of a sixth trainers' championship, but smart British import White Jade gets his chance at Happy Valley tonight to show the cupboard isn't completely bare just yet.
Most of the Moore team is rated right up to their best after a successful season that has the trainer still sitting atop the championship, albeit jointly now with Caspar Fownes, but White Jade (Darren Beadman) is one horse who still has plenty of upside.
The three-year-old was narrowly beaten at his second start over 1,200m at Sha Tin, then struck trouble early before getting to the line well over this course and distance in March.
Moore then freshened up the gelding, before he was sent out a well-backed favourite over 1,400m at Sha Tin on June 7. Moore, Beadman and any punter who backed White Jade will be happy to forget the race ever happened.
He was having his first start for almost three months, overraced when steadied to a position with cover in midfield from a wide gate, but that was only where the trouble began, not where it finished.
Rival O'Reilly Rally was unable to hold his position in front of White Jade and spent most of the race falling back on Moore's runner, pushing him back through the field with Beadman locked in and powerless to do anything about it.
It was a run to be forgotten and, with better luck, White Jade is the horse they will all have to beat in the Carnation Handicap (1,650m).
His most obvious danger is the John Size-trained Brom Brom (Weichong Marwing), who was part of the Australian's Happy Valley revival last start when he won comfortably at only his second start for the stable. Both those runs have been eye-catching. He found 1,200m too short when he ran on well at Sha Tin, before Thomas Yeung Kai-tong gave him a rails-hugging ride from gate one to win last time out.
With Marwing taking over and an increase in rating for the win, Brom Brom finds himself with 125 pounds against the 113 he carried last start, but he has again come up with an inside draw that is sure to take him a long way.
Fownes also has a strong show in the race with Bouncer (Jeff Lloyd), who may appreciate the drop back to a mile, despite running well at 2,200m last time in April.
What he won't appreciate is a wide draw, which will ensure he is giving a start to his main rivals, but with three recognised leaders engaged the tempo should enable backmarkers to get into the finish.
With three meetings to go, John Moore (below) and Caspar Fownes are locked together in the trainers' championship battle with (wins): 62